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Tips for Balancing Work and a Data Science Master's Program

By Sonalisha Mohanty Category Data Science Reading time 6.44 mins Published on Dec 01, 2023

Ways to Keep Work-Learn Balance with a Data Science Master's Program

Amidst the fast-paced rise of the digital age, data science takes an eminent position in our lives. The last couple of decades have witnessed data science becoming one of the attractive developments in the business and job landscape. Now, companies have also realized the power of data in controlling their tasks, optimizing their yields, and making informed decisions. Transitioning to a generic career in the digital age brings the 'Data Science Master's Program' into the limelight. Yet, upskilling faces many challenges, and ensuring a 'work-learn' balance is the most critical one.

How to do a master’s while working? Can I refine my skill sets while meeting task deadlines? Will learning hamper my professional life and create more hurdles? —

In this blog, we will provide valuable upskilling tips for balancing work and degree.

An image shows a person standing in the middle of a lever weighing scale, balancing work and study.

Tips on Balancing Work and Study

The real-life success story of John, a skilled data scientist placed at JPMorgan Chase & Co. reflects a perfect example of work-study balance. After spending 2 years finance domain as an advisor, John felt stagnancy in his career. Then, he came across a social media Ad (LinkedIn) on a master’s program in data science thriving here and there. Without any thought, he enrolled in the course, but unfortunately, his hectic work schedule and continuous client meetings affected his studies. After rigorous efforts, he came up with an action plan to maintain work-study balance. These were the steps he opted for –

  • A weekly planner to schedule job and learning activities
  • Self-assessment (monthly)
  • Goal setting and tracking worksheet
  • Using learned skills at work (visualizing future growth, forecasting trends, advising better budget plans)
  • Regular 1:1 communication with peers & mentors
  • Taking out a good time for health and personal life

Such steps helped John in balancing a full-time job and upskilling. Finally, he landed a financial analyst position at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Enrolling in a master's degree is a pivotal step in launching your data science career, unlocking endless scope for growth and success. Working experts in diverse fields find data science an attractive and gratifying career. Yet, the inability to carry out job tasks and skills development can be a hindrance to a smooth career transition process.

Now, let us know how professionals can cope with workplace challenges and save time for upskilling.

Tip#1 – Plan Your Work-Learn Tasks Strategically

A common query comes here – Can I do a master's while working?

The answer is yes. Work and study can go together, but it needs proper planning. Upskilling with a full-time job is hectic work, and only some working professionals find it manageable. Hence, strategic planning of the tasks weekly or monthly is essential.

On the other hand, if experts plan their tasks and save time for upskilling this issue can be solved. Planning daily tasks will help in choosing the right time for upskilling. A hybrid learning mode is beneficial for working pros, but strategic planning of upskilling, and practicing keeps it smoother.

Example: Maintain a journal and add a to-do list weekly. You can mention important tasks related to the job and projects/activities related to upskilling. This will help you plan your time well.

Tip#2 – Set Your Career Goals and Targets Clear

To improve the skill set, one needs a strong mind, clear career goals, and an urge for continuous learning. Working pros must know their career ambitions and the resources they have or can procure to attain success. Career transition demands planning and setting smart career goals to drive real growth.

In today’s age, having data-driven skills is essential for enriching a slow-paced career. A master's degree in data science equips a career with high-paying job offers worldwide and learning the latest tools and trends. Before that, one must list career expectations, preferable domain, and job roles to crack in the future.

Setting clear career growth targets will clarify the job designations, salary packages, and domain choices to support growth.

Example: Create a SMART goals list and mention your short-term & long-term goals. Including separate lists for job and study life will help craft a clear career path. Also, mention short-term wins that will motivate you to work harder.

Tip#3 – Implement Your Learning into Your Job Tasks for Hands-on Experience

Data science is an aspiring career option for working pros from diverse domains. A skilled data scientist helps businesses grow exponentially with insightful moves.

Learning ensures theoretical and practical knowledge of tools that help accomplish job duties well. Experts can use their learning in their full-time jobs, with the scope for hands-on experience. Besides live projects in the Master's program, experts can implement their learning in decision-making, business planning, or forecasting future actions.

To maintain work and study balance one must learn time management. Here, experts need to plan their time so that they study well after working hours and vice-versa. Experts can implement their workplace experiences in upskilling, saving time and effort. It ensures tactical learning gains for data science learners in concepts – statistical modeling, data visualization, big data tools, data analysis, forecasting, and many more. Thus, a data science master's program ensures quality learning of tools when rightly applied in job tasks, bringing a perfect work-learn balance.

Example: Always try to use your learning and skills at your workplace. This will give you an advantage in experimental learning. Suppose, you belong to the HR domain and you learned about time-series forecasting methods to predict skill availability. Next, you must try to use such a technique in sourcing candidates for open job roles in your company.

An image shows a networking of professional connections.

Tip#4 – Expand Your Professional Connections and Network

Networking with like-minded professionals ensures faster career growth and success. Good networking offers the benefit of diving deeper into business challenges, ways of addressing them, and aspects of informed decision-making. Extending social connections widens the ways to showcase your skills and knowledge in data science trends.

A master's degree in data science brings endless offers for successful career-building. An expert with strong networking is open to internal and external job referrals that facilitate learning of trending topics. Thus, expanding the sphere of professional contacts can help set a work-learn balance with insights.

Example: You must try to include 1-2 webinars and live sessions with industry giants to gain real insights into the data science field. Try to schedule 1:1 meetings with seniors and like-minded professionals to share your experience and learn more about real challenges and ways to solve complex issues.

End Notes

Data Science is a rapidly growing field offering a rewarding career to professionals from diverse fields. Yet, keeping pace with the busy work schedules and continuing learning becomes hard for many. Being productive at work and learning is essential for aspirants. Upskilling via a data science master's program can be futile if it hampers the work deadlines and vice versa.

Enrolling in a Master's in CS: Data Science and AI brings an inclusive learning environment for working experts in diverse fields with assured success. Its tailored course modules guide experts with proven learning followed by hands-on experience via capstone projects. A career service pro package supports realistic career building with 100% placement help.

Learners opting for this program get the scope of obtaining a Woolf University degree followed by project certification from IBM. Thus, opting for this program, similar to the Data Science Master's Program in the US, Canada, and Europe, crafts an easy and successful career path in data science.


Can you do a master's degree while working full-time?

Yes, anyone can pursue a master’s degree while having a full-time job. It is wise to opt for a data science master’s program in your domain so that you gain more practical experience with tools and techniques. Yet, proper planning is essential here to keep work and study balance.

Who is eligible for MS data science?

A master's degree in data science welcomes experts from tech and non-tech fields. With a good academic record and bachelor’s degree in any stream, one can opt for a master’s program. Working pros with years of experience eager to kick-start a data science career can opt for upskilling. In addition, business owners, managers, and decision-makers can enroll in a master's program for skills upgrades.

Can I master data science in 1 year?

There is no fixed duration for completing a master's program in data science. It may take more than one year to 18 months to complete the program with complete knowledge building. Yet, the quality of upskilling matters the most that comes with 100% placement support.